Poor pack­ag­ing set­back to Nige­rian tomato busi­ness

Daily Trust - - FEATURE - By Shehu Abubakar, who was in Kano

Poor pack­ag­ing of toma­toes in lo­cal bas­kets made from­canes is not only af­fect­ing their mar­ketabil­ity but serves also serves in caus­ing the pro­duce to rot eas­ily, Chair­man of Wa­ter Users As­so­ci­a­tion and a ma­jor tomato farmer at Kadawa ir­ri­ga­tion area in Kano State, Al­haji Muazu Datti Yadak­wari, has said.

Yadak­wari said a large per­cent­age of Nigeria’s toma­toes goes to waste due to poor pack­ag­ing, not­ing that while toma­toes in most other African coun­tries, like most de­vel­oped agri­cul­ture na­tions in the world, are pack­aged in crates, Nigeria still pack­ages its toma­toes in lo­cal bas­kets.

He lamented that the canes­the bas­kets are made from pierce through the toma­toes thereby mak­ing them to rot eas­ily, adding, “you know, the bas­kets are usu­ally big and con­tain a lot of toma­toes. When they press each other, it also helps in mak­ing them rot. Our lo­cal tomato pack­ag­ing is not help­ing us at all.

“We have vis­ited some African coun­tries like Sene­gal and saw how they pack­age their toma­toes in crates;so neat and at­trac­tive.The federal govern­ment should in­ter­vene by in­tro­duc­ing the pack­agin­gof toma­toes in crates or spe­cial car­tons. That way, the mar­ket value of the veg­etable will ap­pre­ci­ate and it will at­tract buy­ers.

“We can­not as in­di­vid­ual farm­ers do that ex­cept with govern­ment sup­port and in­ter­ven­tion. Govern­ment can de­sign the crates, ap­point an in­dus­try to pro­duce them and then in­tro­duce them to us. That should be part of govern­ment’s ef­fort to­wards en­hanc­ing the mar­ket­ing of toma­toes in the coun­try,” he said.

Some tomato con­sumers that spoke to Daily Trust said the idea is a wel­comed one pro­vided that it will not hike the cost of toma­toes in the mar­ket. Ha­jiya Talatu Hus­saini Jalo, a food ven­dor at Jabi area of Abuja said the im­proved pack­ag­ing of toma­toes will make it more at­trac­tive to buy­ers and even qual­ify Nige­rian toma­toes for ex­port.

“Pack­ag­ing in­creases the value of ev­ery item in­clud­ing food items like veg­eta­bles. The crates should be in dif­fer­ent sizes to take care of ev­ery­one’s need. For long I have been com­plain­ing of how tomato sell­ers dis­play it on the ground in our mar­kets across the coun­try,” she said.

Musa Mo­hammed who trans­ports toma­toes to the south­ern part of the coun­try said most of the toma­toes pack­aged in bas­kets do not last more than two days be­fore they start get­ting rot­ten be­cause of the way they get com­pressed.

“When they are pack­aged in crates, only the crates will sit on crates. The toma­toes in the crates will not be pressed and that way they can last long. Govern­ment should in­tro­duce this pack­ag­ing to give toma­toes a be­fit­ting han­dling,” he said.

Lo­cal toma­toes packed in bas­kets

A scan had showed that the ewe was car­ry­ing five lambs, but the sixth was a sur­prise

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